Books and Blog: November 15, 2018

  • Shadow’s Bane, Karen Chance, and Dragon’s Claw
  • Diamond Fire, Ilona Andrews
  • The Skeleton Makes a Friend, Leigh Perry
  • A Snicker of Werewolves, MaryJanice Davidson
  • Shades of Wicked, Jeaniene Frost
  • Monday’s Lie, Jamie Mason
  • Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding, Rhys Bowen

I just realized all my “likes” were written by women. Kind of unusual, for me.

Shadow’s Bane is a Dorina Basarab novel, and those of you who read everything Karen Chance writes (like me) will remember that Dorina is a dhampir, and is feared and loathed through the vampire world. She is also prone to fits of violence she doesn’t remember afterward, which may explain part of the fear. Chance’s style is non-stop action, and this book does not disappoint. Dorina seems set up, finally; she’s actually got a seat in the vampire senate, she has a  handsome boyfriend, Louis Cesare, who would die for her, and her father (Mircea, from a VERY famous vampire line) is trying to reconcile the two halves of her brain. As usual, everything that can go wrong, does, in this great adventure. Dragon’s Claw is a novella set in the same world, but the action seems to take place previous to the happenings in Shadow’s Bane.

Ilona Andrews is transitioning from writing about Nevada Baylor and her incredible lover, Connor Rogan, to writing about Catalina Baylor, Nevada’s younger sister and a magically gifted young woman in her own right. The shy Catalina, who has an unusual power which leaves her second-doubting every relationship she forms. Fascinating, as always.

Leigh Perry is one of my dear friends in her life as Toni Kelner. I’ve always enjoyed Perry’s Sid the Skeleton books, and this one is no exception. Sid has joined an on-line gaming alliance. Of course, his team mates have no idea he is an ambulatory skeleton. When a member of his team goes missing, Sid is determined to find out why. His best friend Georgia, a delight to visit with, is still doing adjunct work at college after college, still hoping for a permanent place somewhere in Academia. Georgia’s daughter, Madison, is going to be quite a woman when she grows up. Charming.

Lots of my readers are also fans of MaryJanice Davidson, and they’ll be as pleased as I was to find that A Snicker of Werewolvesis a collection of MJD’s Wyndham werewolves short stories and novellas. I had a great time rereading these stories, and enjoying Davidson’s style all over again.

Shades of Wickedis Jeaniene Frost’s latest set in the world of Cat and Bones, a favorite series of mine. My least-favorite character, Ian, and Guardian Veritas get their chance in the spotlight. Their romance is bumpy and bloody, as you would expect, but Frost’s always lively characters do have a happy ending . . . pretty much.

I liked Monday’s Liea whole lot. Dee Aldrich, the protagonist, was brought up unconventionally, and that’s putting it mildly. Her mother, Annette, was a covert operative. Annette has brought up Dee and her brother to detect lies, to remember details, to play spy games. When’s Dee’s marriage begins to unravel, all these lessons come in handy. This is a very good book, with a surprise around every corner.

Rhys Bowen and I have known each other for many years. I was delighted to have a chance to visit with Rhys at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, and even more pleased to receive a copy of her latest Royal Spyness novel, Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding. I gobbled it up in two nights. Lady Georgianna Rannoch, low on the list for the throne of England, is preparing for her wedding to Darcy O’Mara, and there are multiple obstacles in the way. Georgie will be stricken from the line of succession since Darcy is a Catholic, but she doesn’t care about that. They have no place to live and no money with which to maintain even a moderate lifestyle. Georgie’s grandfather is about to be wed, too, and his bride is a real pain. Georgie’s mother engagement is in turmoil, too, since her fiancé is German, and it’s clear war is about to erupt. So when Georgie’s godfather offers her a house, it’s not exactly a surprise that when she gets there something is clearly amiss. But we have to trust Georgie to figure it out.

 

Blog

This is a season where the pace begins to pick up, sometimes in an unpleasant, rollercoaster way. The pressure to provide perfect holidays for your family can sure take some of the pleasure out of the season. I am trying to get rid of that bit by bit, now that I am on the downside of 65.

We anticipate some very happy things happening this November/December, but there are simply so many things to schedule! You’d think at my age I’d learn to parcel out the fun, but this is truly the only time of year we’re this busy.

Tomorrow we go to our grandchildren’s school for Grandparents Day. This is a new school, so there will be a lot to absorb. Saturday we have a lunch in honor of a couple from church, and Saturday evening our – well, let me see – the son of my son’s sister-in-law, so I really don’t know what he is to us, but we care about him – will have his 16thbirthday, which is sure enough a big event. Another meal out.

Then my cousin arrives for Thanksgiving, and everyone will gather at our house for the day. I have farmed out some of the cooking this year, which makes sense. My daughter and my son are both able to cook. Then my cousin returns home, and then it’s my birthday.

The Christmas lighting guy comes somewhere in there.

And there’s also decorating, and Christmas parties, and Christmas itself. I’m not even thinking that far.

All of you take it easy, and enjoy Thanksgiving, no matter how you spend the day!

 

Charlaine Harris